Document Type


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Journal Title

Advances in Hospitality and Tourism Research (AHTR)

Publication Date



Cracker Barrel restaurants are a fixture across the interstate landscape of the United States. These sites cultivate a strong sense of place through careful theming, generating a distinct sense of rural America and nostalgia for home. At the same time, the uniformity of Cracker Barrel speaks to the notion of placelessness, the eradication of unique local features and homogenization of experience. Cracker Barrel is thus simultaneously placeless and placefull. This research explores this paradoxical notion by utilizing semiotic analyses in an analysis of user-generated Yelp! photos of Cracker Barrels across the country. It is clear from this analysis that the number and wide variety of artifacts vary surprisingly little from store to store. Together, this uniformity and intentional theming help successfully create a sense of place for Cracker Barrel stores as a rural American, 19th century “home-away-from-home.”


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